Hawks Leaving the Nest


Liam Bradford, Sports Editor

After four, long, jam-packed, memorable years, the Lakeland Hawks senior class of 2021 officially graduated and is now starting its new journey into the real world. 

The 166 graduating Lakeland seniors walked through the doors at Real Life Church on Wednesday night wearing their traditional caps and gowns. Many of them smiling from ear to ear with excitement, as this was their last hurrah as high school students. 

The band started off the graduation ceremony by playing multiple symphonies. Then, the four class Valedictorians each gave a speech. Ashley Smith, Riley Siegford, and Katy Ryan were all honored as class Valedictorians. 

Ashley Smith mentioned her thought process while getting called to the office to see Mr. Derrick the day she found out that she was going to be granted class Valedictorian. She thanked individual classmates for her success. She also mentioned a few teachers as well that helped her pave the way for her success. 

Riley Siegford talked about his experiences with getting demolished as a freshman in weights class playing dodgeball against upperclassmen. Riley was the only male Valedictorian and was certainly entertaining and informative during his speech. 

Katy Ryan said that she turned in her speech three days late which gave the audience quite a kick. She also described her experiences throughout classes in high school. 

Governor Brad Little gave a great speech at graduation as well.

During his speech, Governor Little said, “Preparation for adult life during high school is a huge key to success. If a high school student is graduating, and they know what they want to do as far as college or work or whatever it may be, they are setting themselves up to succeed and open more opportunities.” 

The governor also talked about the importance of picking a good major otherwise, you may be scrambling around without a steady job.

 “The average person when I graduated worked six jobs in their life. The average now is over 12. Many people have no idea what they are doing when they graduate, so it is beneficial to form a plan while still in high school,” Little said.  

Many of these seniors are going to college, while others are going into the work field or joining the United States military. The seniors earned $9.5 million in scholarships which is an absolutely mind-blowing achievement considering the number of students graduating. 

As the seniors, go off into the real world, they got to have one last night with all of their friends and peers that they met during their time in school and Lakeland High School and Real Life Church put on stunning graduation for these Hawks seniors.